Since then

It's been three weeks since my mom and I drove in on "the 5," as West Coasters call it. Since then I have become a student again. I've also baked my favourite maple and olive oil granola and an almond fig galette, because it's really good to practice the familiar when it seems there is nothing familiar about your life. Fig season is very short, and I've been very pleased to discover a different Seattle neighborhood farmers market nearly every day to satisfy my fig/apple/peach/tomato craving. Since then I have also discovered Discovery Park, whose bluffs look across Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island and the majestic Olympic Mountains beyond. We also got a stellar glimpse of Mount Rainier, peeking out to the South of us.

I've also realized that running in the evening is best in these parts because you get a stunning sunset over the Sound. I've ended many a run with this view, which is sometimes just the stillness and balm the soul needs. I am grateful that days do indeed come to a close and that tomorrow always rises anew.

Last weekend I was officially matriculated into the Seattle School, adopted into this community of learners with great semblance and ceremony. We gathered in the stunning St. Mark's Cathedral, where the staff, faculty, and select alumni of the school surrounded the gathering of new students, offering an official welcome and invitation. Fittingly, one of the readings was from the book of Deuteronomy, the shema, as it is known in Jewish tradition, reminding us of the words that we carry around with us, impress on our hearts and souls and in one another. We also celebrated communion, presented to us by two of our professors of theology. As I went forward to receive communion, I was stirred by the greatness of the moment. It struck me just what a privilege it is to be a part of this community, surrounded by my now peers and professors, in this sacred space, being offered the elements of the eucharist. In that space, I felt both the weight of my humanity and the luminous love of my Creator.

Since then, I have felt difficulty, overwhelm, awe, doubt, and grace. The newness of absolutely everything about this experience is exhausting. It requires constant engagement. I have been praying that God would allow me to find a sabbath rest and rhythms that offer stillness and peace. I know that it is in our most vulnerable moments, when time and money are tight, when family is far, and when community is lacking, that doubt and fear creep in. And it is in those moments I pray I'll be reminded of the one who calmed the storm.

This week, I read Mary Oliver's final poem in her collection Thirst. She concludes with a poem by the same name, which I swear she dug from deep within my heart this week:

Another morning and I wake with thirst
for the goodness I do not have. I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has 
given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked
and hunched over my books past the
hour and the bell; grant me, in your
mercy, a little more time. Love for the
earth and love for you are having such a
long conversation in my heart. Who
knows what will finally happen or
where I will be sent, yet already I have
given a great many things away, expecting
to be told to pack nothing, except the
prayers which, with this thirst, I am
slowly learning.

PS. In my last post, I neglected to give a huge shout-out to my mom. She was the best road-trip companion. She put up with me for 30+ hours in the car, manning the atlas and the iPod like a pro. She never protested when I insisted we camp along the way, and together, we discovered the beauty of the Badlands, the Black Hills, Bozeman, Couer d'Alene, and finally, the great state of Washington. And she stayed, just long enough to unpack boxes, make my bed, and get a brief glimpse of Seattle. It was truly an honor to share the experience together. I am beyond grateful for the endless love and support of my parents and siblings. I realize now more than ever that it is a gift, a proximity I will miss dearly. What a privilege, to be a part of this family.